It’s that time of year, when students and their parents are hearing from colleges about which schools granted them admission – and equally important, which schools are offering the most money to pay for college.
If your family is like most, you probably can’t afford to foot the entire college bill on your own. That’s why most students rely on a mix of scholarships, grants, funds from work study, and student loans. Together, these make up the bulk of the financial aid award package offered by many colleges.
But what should you do if a school you really want to attend hasn’t offered you an attractive financial aid package?
The short answer is: negotiate.
Here are four tips for negotiating a better college financial aid award package, compliments of SimpleTuition.com.
Don’t Waste Time
Call the financial aid office immediately as most aid is given on a first come first served basis.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
A school usually won’t hand students more money without asking for it.
Plead the Case
Make a case on how the student will add value to the institution. Sometimes explaining that another school gave more
money, could push them to dig deeper.
Show them that the student needs the extra help. Perhaps family finances have changed, a parent was laid-off or an
unforeseen event negatively affected the financial situation.
The important thing to remember is that your financial aid award letter is not written in stone. So when dealing with a financial aid office, remember to sell yourself (in a positive way) to the college and clearly articulate why you should attend, and what value you would also bring to the school.
A key goal, of course, should be to decrease the amount of student loans you get, and increase the amount of free aid, such as scholarships and grants. If you position yourself in the best possible light, and are prepared to tactfully and effectively negotiate, you’ll likely find that you can get the best possible financial aid award that the school of your choice can offer.